Will Beeming money become the new way to shop?

17 November 2008

Mobile phones can do pretty much everything except feed the dog, at least until Apple's new edible iBone made from prime cuts of rabbit and chicken in a delicious gravy is launched next year (dogs + iBone = rapier wit). So it's no surprise that a service like Beem has launched, which allows you to send money securely via text messaging on your mobile.

Once you've registered online, you can transfer cash from your debit card to your Beem account or have money transferred to it by a third party, from friends or family. You can also upload money from Beem back into your bank account. Making a payment is as easy as a four word text message and all transactions are PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant; Beem works to the same security standards as your high street bank.

A cashless payment scheme that sounds straight forward enough - so why isn't everyone doing it already? Well it's new, so there's plenty of  product promotion to be done.  Even so, one concern is the number of businesses who accept Beem payments. There aren't many. If you're a fan of Tops Pizzas or very select taxi firms in the South East, then good news. According to their website, Beem are working to secure plenty of big name brands, but until they do the revolution is some distance off.

There's also the development of other smartphone applications which may put Beem out to pasture before it's established as a viable payment system. Surely an iPhone or G1 applcation that creates one-time passcodes or even an on-screen barcode that a cashier can scan must be in the works; a ying to CompareEverywhere's yang.

Is cashless payment-by-text the future of shopping? Or is there some way to go before you leave the debit card at home?

What do you think?

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